Labor rank and file push for right to die laws

ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk is facing a push from grassroots Labor members to guarantee euthanasia laws will be debated in parliament before next year's State Election.

The Courier-Mail can reveal there are plans to move a motion from the floor at this weekend's Queensland Labor conference to force the Premier's hand on the issue.

It comes after several cross-factional regional member assemblies held ahead of the conference have passed Left faction motions calling for the reform to be brought in during the current term as a matter of urgency "to prevent ongoing and unnecessary suffering".

Members fear the opportunity to bring in the major health reform could be lost if debate is delayed until after the State Election and Labor either loses or fails to keep its majority on the floor of the House.


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attends the COAG meeting at the Convention Centre in Cairns Picture: Anna Rogers
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attends the COAG meeting at the Convention Centre in Cairns Picture: Anna Rogers

At the same time there is a rearguard action within the party and the Government to put any potential euthanasia laws on ice following the party's shocking Federal Election drubbing in Queensland.

Some fear Labor was punished at the ballot box for focusing on social issues over jobs.

They want any euthanasia laws to be pushed out past October 2020 and only dealt with should Labor win a third term.

The Premier has refused to be drawn on whether laws allowing voluntary assisted dying for the terminally ill could be debated before the October 2020 poll.

Ms Palaszczuk told The Courier-Mail she wants to wait until Parliament's end of life inquiry - which is considering potential new euthanasia laws - reports back to the house.

The committee conducting the inquiry was due to report back at the end of November.

But it has since added a probe into the collapse of the Earle Haven nursing home to its duties sparking speculation its reporting date will now be pushed back.

Clem Jones Trust chairman David Muir renewed his call for parliament to consider the laws this term.

"The motions are a matter for the Labor Party conference, but we agree with the sentiment of needing to act in this term," he told The Courier-Mail.

"The urgent and heartbreaking cries by average Queenslanders for voluntary assisted dying law reform is dominating evidence and submissions to the public inquiry by the cross-party Health Committee of the Queensland parliament.

"The cross-party inquiry was authorised by the current parliament, it will report back to the current parliament, and Queenslanders have an expectation that the 93 MPs they elected to serve them in this parliament will deal with any recommendations for law reform by the Health Committee."

Former premier Campbell Newman. Picture: Kym Smith
Former premier Campbell Newman. Picture: Kym Smith

The committee will hold one of its biggest hearing days on Friday with former Premier Campbell Newman and euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke among those to give evidence.

The Courier-Mail revealed earlier this year that Mr Newman counts not bringing in voluntary assisted dying laws while he held the state's top job as one of his biggest regrets.